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Acute Respiratory infections

Acute Respiratory infections

There are few studies that have investigated the epidemiology of acute infections such as acute respiratory infections in the general population. This is because most infections have an acute course and a short duration. Therefore, most studies in this area are hospital-based with severe forms of infections. We proposed a novel approach to study the epidemiology of acute infections in non-healthcare settings. The proposed approach was tested in several studies. The first study examined the feasibility of the proposed method to detect acute respiratory infections. In this study we combined real-time detection of symptomatic infections through email reminder and pathogen identification in self-swabs. This method turned out to be feasible; most participants collected and returned nasal specimens in a timely manner. The second study investigated the validity of self-swabs in terms of detection of viral pathogens compared to the gold standard (staff-collected swabs). Overall, 15 respiratory pathogens were detected. We observed a very high agreement in terms of pathogen detection and a high quality of self-swabs. In a recently completed study we examined the feasibility of serial nasal self-collection for the detection of Staphylococcus aureus in a truly community-based study in Braunschweig. Participants showed a very high compliance. Combination of modern communication tools and self-swabbing seems to be cost-efficient, feasible and well-accepted method and can be used as an alternative in non-healthcare settings.

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